The Lincoln Street Spokane Urban Runoff Greenway Ecosystem (SURGE) is an 11-block stormwater retrofit that transects a primarily residential neighborhood on Spokane’s South Hill. The project included landscaped curb extensions to separate storm drainage from the sanitary sewer system and offer improved water quality treatment over traditional grass-lined swales. AHBL generated a Low Impact Development (LID) planting plan with hardy, drought tolerant plant varieties for the swales and consulted on the design of road and swale section details.
The project required a significant public involvement effort to gauge local interest in the proposed road improvements. AHBL remained engaged with the community throughout the project’s design, construction, and occupancy, working with community volunteers to facilitate the meetings and develop plant palettes. AHBL’s public involvement process revealed critical information regarding neighborhood aesthetics, maintenance, and safety priorities.
Plant selection was driven by both environmental and cultural concerns. AHBL conducted a neighborhood walking tour involving the project’s lead engineer, local master gardeners and neighborhood members to identify plant material that resonated with the surrounding residential neighborhood and met the performance standards required by bio-retention swales. AHBL then developed three drought-tolerant plant palettes suitable for various solar conditions. The presence of an elementary school along the street required that no potentially poisonous plants be included.
City budget constraints necessitated making homeowners responsible for the maintenance of storm gardens following the first two growing seasons. In order to promote proper maintenance practices, AHBL created informational handouts to show how storm gardens work, grow, and can best be maintained. AHBL also presented this information at a well-attended neighborhood meeting and intends to administer a hands-on maintenance workshop in the near future. Furthermore, AHBL continues to observe and evaluate the project’s seasonal performance.